Though the COVID-19 pandemic is neither wanted nor expected, God has prepared His children and His Church for this time, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught.
“We will endure this, yes,” he said during his Saturday afternoon general conference address. “But we will do more than simply grit our teeth, hold on and wait for things to return to the old normal. We will move forward, and we will be better as a result.”
The effect of the pandemic was evident during the second session of the 190th Semiannual General Conference. Not only were Church leaders and their wives socially distanced and wearing masks in the Conference Center Theater where the conference is broadcast worldwide, but one Apostle was absent due to the virus.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was potentially exposed to COVID-19 before the conference. Although President Dallin H. Oaks reported that he felt fine, Elder Gong was not in attendance out of an abundance of caution. His prerecorded address was broadcast during the session.
President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, led the sustaining of Church leaders at the beginning of the session. Three General Authority Seventies received emeritus status: Elder L. Whitney Clayton, Elder Enrique R. Falabella and Elder Richard J. Maynes. Four Area Seventies were called and 47 were released.
Additionally, Bishop Dean M. Davies was released as first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric and called as a General Authority Seventy. He has been dealing with a health challenge for over a year, but his prognosis is positive, according to a press release from the Church.
Read more: Latter-day Saints sustain new Presiding Bishopric counselors; 3 General Authority Seventies given emeritus status
Bishop W. Christopher Waddell was released as second counselor and called as first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, and Elder L. Todd Budge, called as a General Authority Seventy in April 2019, was released from his position and called as second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric.
Speakers during this session were Elder Uchtdorf, Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Elder Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Matthew S. Holland and Elder William K. Jackson, General Authority Seventies, President Steven J. Lund, Young Men general president and Bishop Waddell.
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the session. Elder J. Devn Cornish, General Authority Seventy, and President Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, offered the opening and closing prayers respectively.
Music was provided by various choirs, directors and organists from previous general conferences.